Shellharbour golfer Travis Smyth will begin his tilt at the NSW Open on Thursday, 12 months after making his pro debut at Twin Creeks.
Formerly Australia’s top-ranked amateur, Smyth teed off on his professional career at last year’s open, managing a T11 finish in an impressive pro debut.
A year on, Smyth will be chasing a second PGA Tour of Australasia title after first stamping himself on the Australian golf scene with a victory at the 2017 Northern Territory PGA while still an amateur.
The 23-year-old admits that crown seems a lot further than a year in the past.
“I feel this past year has been a stepping stone forward for me,” Smyth said.
“I haven’t gone backwards by any means and that’s really important.
“I’ve done an awful lot of travel and played a lot of tournaments and it’s all been really important experience.
“You can’t really practice a lot of the stuff you need to do to be a professional golfer, you’ve just got to do it and that’s what this year has been for me.”
Having produced rounds of 70-66-71-69 to finish 12-under and T11 last year, Smyth is feeling confident ahead of what he expects to be another low scoring championship.
“I’m feeling good this week,” he said.
“I played the practice rounds well and I enjoy the course. It suits my eye. The greens are perfect so there’s no excuses to play bad.
“The scores will be low like last year I think so I’ll see if I can hole some putts and the score will be there
“All 18 holes here are birdie chances and you really have to be in attack mode from the first tee to the 72nd green so that’s what I’ll be looking to do.”
Smyth will also return with some valuable lessons lessons under his belt after missing five straight cuts to start the year after earning his Asian Tour card.
“I think I was over-analysing everything,” he said of the poor run.
“I needed to just go play. After you miss a couple of cuts it starts to play on your mind and before I knew it I was starting tournaments just thinking about making the cut and that’s not good.
“After I finally made one the pressure was off and I’m really proud to say I didn’t miss another cut the rest of the year.”
The strong finish over the second half of the season all but secured playing rights for 2019 and he’ll look to carry that impressive late-season momentum into this week’s tournament.
A win this week at Twin Creeks would certainly set the tone for his second year as a professional, one he’s hoping will bring better things.
“I know now that I can get where I want to be in the game,” he said.
“And I’ve learnt that it might not be next year or the year after or in five years but I know that I will get there.
“And having that belief is probably the most important thing of all.”
Smyth will tee-off at 12.45 on Thursday alongside James Nitties and PGA Tour veteran Peter Lonard.